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  ‼  Aum, Asato maa sadgamaya, Tamaso maa jyotirgamaya  ‼  
     

 

SRI RAMA GOES TO THE FOREST
Page Two

KEVAT

During Rama’s sojourn in the forest he met vari­ous devotees. One of the most interesting of such encounters is that with Kevat, a simple boatman. Sri Rama wanted to cross the river and he asked the boatman Kevat to ferry him across. Kevat refused to take Rama on his boat until he was allowed to wash Rama’s feet.

In Hinduism washing the feet of one’s beloved God or teacher is considered a great privilege not accessible to many.

Kevat, after having washed Rama’s feet, took the divine trio Rama, Sita and Lakshmana across the river. When Rama wanted to give him a ring as a payment for Kevat’s services, the latter refused.

He had recognised Rama as God. Kevat claimed that both Rama and he were in the same profession. Both ferried people across; he, Kevat, did it across the river whereas Rama ferried his devotees from Earth to Heaven, from Death to Immortality.

Kevat told Rama that since Rama owed him a service, he should promise to safely ferry Kevat to God’s land of Love and Plenty when his time comes.

Hindus believe that only a Bhakta (Devotee) has he privilege to talk on such a personal level. A Bhakta truly loves, and love makes one fearless.

Rama came to Kevat. Kevat did not have to go to Rama.

The above is symbolic.

In Bhakti (the path of Love) one just loves and surrenders to that Love. God being Love does the rest. He comes to you.

When Bharata and Shatrughna returned from their maternal grandparents’ home, they were shocked at what had transpired in Ayodhya during their absence.

Bharata refused to acknowledge Kaikeyi as his mother.

One would wonder how Bharata, who is symbolic of Love, could disown his own mother.

It has been mentioned that Bharata did not only stand for Love, he stood for Dharma, he stood for “What is right”.

Love sometimes takes the form of a Doctor who inflicts pain on a patient to relieve him of a greater malady.

He was angry with his mother to the point of dis­owning her to make her aware of the great harm she had done due to her false attachment, which she mis­took for her love for her son Bharata.

Bharata also refused the throne. He decided to proceed to Chitrakoot, a nook where Rama, Sita and Lakshmana had made their abode in the forest.

Bharata decided to go there to persuade his brother to return to Ayodhya to take his rightful place on the throne.

Bharata’s journey to Rama and Sita in Chitrakoot is symbolic of an aspirant’s spiritual path.

At first, the forest-dwellers Bharata met on the way to Chitrakoot felt that Bharata was a hypocrite pretending to be a saint. However Bharata urged them to come along with him.

A true sage has such love and compassion that he does not want to go to God alone. He wants to take all whom he comes in contact.

Bharata is also symbolic of love.

On his way to Chitrakoot, Bharata reaches the great pilgrim centre Prayag Raaj. There he proclaims that he does not desire anything but to be able to serve Rama.

Isn’t that what true love only desires?

Sri Rama and Bharata meet. Sri Rama however feels that he cannot return to Ayodhya despite Bharata’s desire.

Bharata is made to understand that even though love is greater than duty, love never demands. True love allows freedom to his beloved to do what he deems right.

Sri Rama promised to accept the throne after 14 years and in the meantime urged Bharata to be its caretaker.

Bharata asked for Sri Rama’s wooden sandals.

These wooden sandals Bharata kept on the throne while he executed the duties of running the kingdom.

Bharata said he wanted to constantly remember that he was only a caretaker.

If only we could remember that we too are care­takers of our possessions! All we possess truly be­longs to God, which is to be returned ungrudgingly whenever the time is up.

The greatness of the Ramayana lies in the idea­listic behaviour of its characters.

The brothers all know the art of giving and in that sacrifice lay their happiness.

Compare this to the strife prevalent in today’s world where one is not satisfied with what one possesses and wants to usurp our so-called near and dear ones’ rights by unfair means, if need be.

How can we then have peace of mind? In our Hindu philosophy it is said one cannot expect flowers, where one plants thorns.


Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says:

Love essentially means somebody else has become more important than yourself…The moment you say: “I love you” you can no more do what you want in your life.

…Yet love is pleasant, sweet, it drags you in…If you do not annihilate yourself, you will never know love. Some part of you must die. If you don’t let this happen, there is no love, only calculation…bhakti is unreasonable love. It  is one sided madness. That is the beauty of loving God because you don’t have to have a relationship—you can just love. And if you have a relationship. It’s all on your terms…

When people don’t love they are rigid…when they love, they are willing to surrender their likes, dislikes…you could call it annihilation, liberation, destruction, nirvana…the above is a fantastic spiritual process…

…The idea of looking up and loving Rama, Krishna, loving Jesus, having something up there or loving a guru is because you need not have any fear of entanglement from the other side. That is the beauty of devotion. Without some sense of love in you, without some sense of self-annihilation you cannot meditate. If you pull down the whole of what you call as :  “myself” you will become absolutely still and transcendent.

 

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